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  Talk Elections
  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion
  U.S. Presidential Election Results (Moderators: Torie, ON Progressive)
  Did Dewey lose in 1948 because he neglected the black vote?
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Author Topic: Did Dewey lose in 1948 because he neglected the black vote?  (Read 2898 times)
zorkpolitics
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« on: December 26, 2005, 05:41:55 pm »

Unlike recent elections, Republicans typically had a pretty high percentage of the African-American vote in the first half of the 20th century.  Although Dewey had the best record on civil rights of any governor at that time, he ignored pleas from African American Republicans to campaign on his record.  In the end though he lost nationally by 4%,,Truman won the election because he carried CA and OH by less than .25%.  If Dewey had fought for the black vote he might have blocked Truman's victory and sent the election to the House of Representatives.
Why didn't he raise the civil rights issue?
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minionofmidas - supplemental forum account
Lewis Trondheim
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« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2005, 05:43:27 pm »

I'm not sure, but maybe he feared losing the Upper South Republican vote? (That would've been pretty dumb though, he didn't stand a chance to carry anything there as it was).
Also, could you expound on his Civil Rights record?
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dazzleman
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« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2005, 07:21:12 pm »

Interesting question.

Truman's grand strategy was to win certain key states by going after the black vote.  He chose that option over keeping together the unnatural coalition of northern liberals and southern white racists.  When he refused to remove a plank from the Democratic platform supporting equality for blacks, Strom Thurmond bolted with his Dixiecrats.  Ironically, this hastened the demise of the segregationists because it showed that the Democrats could win without the solid south, and they lost their ability to blackmail the party.

As far as Dewey goes, I never gave much thought to his campaign strategy, other than to recognize that it was based upon a smug assumption of victory, and a strategy not to raise any controversial issues so as to upset the consensus on voting for him.  That's my best guess -- treatment of blacks was a controversial issue, and he thought he could win without raising it, and therefore without going after black support by campaigning for civil rights.  In this, as in some other things, he was mistaken.
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zorkpolitics
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« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2005, 11:19:45 pm »

I'm not sure, but maybe he feared losing the Upper South Republican vote? (That would've been pretty dumb though, he didn't stand a chance to carry anything there as it was).
Also, could you expound on his Civil Rights record?

In 1941, when he was elected governor of New York State. Dewey kept his promise by setting in place reforms, including the first statewide civil rights legislation in the nation, establishing the first state agency to eliminate discrimination in employment.

also under Dewey's leadership, the Republicans enacted a platform at the 1948 convention which called for expanding social security, more funding for public housing, civil rights legislation, and promotion of health and education by the federal government.


see:
http://www.nps.gov/elro/glossary/dewey-thomas.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._presidential_election,_1948
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mathstatman
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2015, 09:38:41 pm »

He lost because after an engineer mistakenly pulled Dewey's campaign train away from the whistle stop, Dewey quipped "he should be shot at sunrise". This turned working people against him. Incredibly, Republicans probably took the Black vote for granted in 1948 or assumed it was too small to matter.
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